Archive for November, 2010

29 Nov 2010

Dad

16 Comments Personal Crap

I close my eyes

and there you are

asking about my day, my life, your grandson.

Your soothing voice calms my fears,

tells me everything is better than good,

makes me believe in my dreams.

I close my eyes and there we are,

me as a child asleep on your shoulder,

but not really. I’m pretending because I love to be held.

You tuck me in and tickle my back,

mom by your side,

you offer soft words of “goodnight” and “I love you”.

I close my eyes

and there you are

at Thanksgiving, my birthday,

all the things you’ve already missed.

I didn’t even mention you because my heart hurt so badly.

I close my eyes

and there we are

In New York, Massachusetts, Philadelphia.

I’m twelve and I’ll remember it forever.

You know me so well.

I’m Daddy’s girl.

I’m so much like you

in so many ways.

I close my eyes

and there you are.

In the army, at your wedding

pictures from before me.

Then I see you holding Garrett

tighter than you ever could.

I see you in him.

I see you.

And then I open my eyes

and you’re still gone.

I still can’t believe it.

I close my eyes again.

27 Nov 2010

Flawless Saturday Question

12 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

This was my birthday week and Thanksgiving week, so it was a pretty great week. I got to celebrate my birthday with a very good friend, shopping with money that wasn’t really mine (GIFT CARDS), sharing a delicious meal, and having great conversation. The night before she had cooked an amazing birthday meal with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and apple pie. The night of my birthday, family came over to share in the fun and we had a lovely evening. Tonight, more friends, more wonderful times.  And tomorrow… Tomorrow I have a 24 hour date with my husband that I am looking ridiculously  forward to. That’s my favorite gift.

So, what is your favorite way to spend your birthday OR what is the best birthday you’ve had so far?

I’ll be, ahem… Busy all day. But I’ll see your answers sometime Sunday.

Hope your holiday was so perfect.

24 Nov 2010

I AM THANKFUL

7 Comments Personal Crap

Well, it’s not original but I thought I should do a post about what I’m thankful for. This morning was surprisingly difficult. I missed my dad a lot. Sadness washed over me and was almost impossible to shake off. This was our holiday. My dad loved Thanksgiving as much as I do. So much so that once, because he had been sick in November, we had a second Thanksgiving in March. God, I wish he was here.

Our table will have only five at it this year. But I am cooking all the same things, all the same amounts. I’m having Thanksgiving because we have so much to be thankful for.

I am Thankful for:

The “Mommy!” that wakes me up way too early every morning.

The man laying beside me when I get up way too early.

The coffee that helps me wake up, when I get up way too early.

The son who exceeds all of my dreams of having a child, and challenges me in ways I never thought I could meet.

The marriage that sustains me, makes me believe in love, and challenges me in ways I never thought I could meet.

The fairly-functional family who is partially broken, but mostly intact, which made me who I am… Good and bad. And is accepting of the way I change.

The beautiful, funny woman who co-raised me, is trying to get on with life, and taking painful steps to do so.

The amazing woman who raised my husband and did a most excellent job of it.

The incredible woman who married my brother, and became my true sister.

The wonderful children, our nieces and nephews, who we don’t see enough of.

The dog who greets me, tail wagging, every morning… Way too early.

The friends I have made, old and new. And some old AND new. They are amazing, loving, beautiful friends, and I am blessed to know them.

The neighbors who keep a watch, and have saved us from many parking tickets.

The roof over my head and the walls that hold up this house.

The lessons I learn that help me grow.

The laughter that I am lucky enough to experience daily.

The tears that help me heal.

The food I get to eat, the wine I get to drink, the choices I get to make.

I am mostly thankful for health and happiness and the fact that I am always acutely aware of their fragility.

And I am thankful I get to write, and for those of you who read what I write.

I am thankful for this beautiful life.

I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

23 Nov 2010

Mr. Sandman

5 Comments Toddler

Growing up, I was very attached to my parents and so I was never thrilled when they left us with a babysitter. (Except for the period of time when our sitter was an extremely handsome guy who lived down the street.) Whenever our folks went out, which was pretty much every weekend, they would promise to wake me up when they got home so I’d know they got back safely. They’d always give me a kiss and tell me they were home and that they loved me. That was pretty fantastic, and made me feel very secure.

The whole babysitter thing is new to us around here, because for almost the entire first three years of G’s life, we took him everywhere with us or had our friends come to our house. Our friends have been beyond generous with their acceptance of our son and they’ve made us feel like he’s always welcome. But it was time for us to start doing some things with just adults, and allowing ourselves to stay out later.

So tonight our sitter came, this was her second time here, and G seemed a little perturbed, but not extremely upset. When we left, he gave us huge hugs and told us he’d miss us. We got in the car and drove away and we were half way down our street when my phone rang. “I miss you, Mommy!” I told him we missed him, too. “Are you just going to do work and then you’ll be home?” I told him we were actually going to dinner and we’d be home after he was asleep. “But I miss you!” I told him we’d come kiss him goodnight when we got home. “You’ll tiptoe into my room?” I told him we would. After several “I love you”s we finally hung up. I took a deep breath.

When we were just sitting down for dinner with our friends, my phone rang again. It was 7:30, so he was getting ready for bed. This time when I picked up the phone he was sobbing. “MOMMY! I MISS YOU!” I stepped away from the table. “I miss you too, honey.” He asked when we’d be home. I told him after he was asleep. He was crying so hard, but trying even harder not to upset me. Classic Garrett. We rarely hear him this worked up. He was doing that hard cry where the breaths are so big and each word is a struggle to say. “I just miss you and I want to hug you”, he said. I said, “When we get home, do you want us to wake you up and I’ll rock you for a little bit?” He said yes through huge sobs. “Will that make you feel better?” Yes again through bigger sobs. I told him I love him so much and he said goodbye.  Deep breath.

I knew he’d be okay so I allowed myself to have a fantastic time with fantastic friends over fantastic food and wine.

We got home at 11:30, paid the sitter, (GOOD LORD, THEY’RE EXPENSIVE), and walked back to his room. Russ picked him up and held him. He was sound asleep. “Buddy”, he said, “Do you want Mom to rock you?” Garrett nodded, still asleep. So I held him, rocked him, stroked his hair and kissed his forehead. “I love you so much, buddy”, I whispered. “Do you want to get back into bed?” He nodded again, eyes still closed.

I’m not sure if he’ll consciously remember any of that, but we never tell Garrett we’re going to do something without completely following through. And it was just as comforting for me as it was meant to be for him.

It’s officially my birthday. Russ will let me sleep in tomorrow (actually today) morning. But I can’t think of a better way to start my birthday than by looking into that kid’s face. I’ll make Russ promise to wake me up before they leave for school so Garrett can tell me he loves me and kiss my forehead.

22 Nov 2010

It’s Me Against The Clock. The Clock Wins.

9 Comments Toddler

I sincerely hate the person I am when I don’t get enough sleep. Garrett woke up at 5:45 this morning and I’m sorry , I don’t do well at 5:45. I begged him to go back to sleep but he just wouldn’t. Once this kid is up, he’s up. I feel like I’m a pretty worthless mom when I’m exhausted. Garrett wants to play and I just… Can’t. So I put the TV on and there he sat, watching “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”. It’s a funny movie, at least. So I’m helping to build his sense of humor.

After I had a cup of coffee, I poured myself some cereal and sat down on the floor next to him. I’d take a bite then I’d give him one. Then I’d take one, then he would. “Mom! We’re sharing!” Yes, we are! He put his head on my shoulder for a second then asked for more. I was starting to feel like a less-sucky mom. Then I wanted to get us dressed and get off to school. As I was getting my sweats on, he kept asking me to introduce him as different dinosaurs. We were whispering because Russ was still asleep. “Ladies and gentlemen… Supersaurus!”  Then he wanted to be a T-Rex. “Ladies and gentlemen… T-Rex!” Then a utaraptor. “Ladies and gentlemen…” you get the idea. Suckiness fading more.

Then we got him dressed in the outfit my mom just brought him back from her trip. It’s a great Spiderman shirt and sweat pants. The pants are big enough for him to pull all the way up to his chest, which he did. I started laughing so hard, I fell on the floor. “I’m you!”, he said. “You’re me?”  Then he started doing this hysterical walk, pants up to his chest, all around his room. We were both laughing hard.

Okay, so it ended up to not be a terrible morning. BUT, it still isn’t the kind of morning I like to have with him. Most of it was me trying to wake up and not whine, while he watched TV. And I hate that. It makes me feel guilty to send him off to school knowing we didn’t really play or crawl around or even really talk that much. But I can only do that stuff when I’ve had at least SOME freaking sleep the night  before. I can’t go to bed earlier than I’m already going to bed. That would leave me with no time to do anything. Ever. And I can’t wake up at 5:45 and be a decent parent, either. At least not the kind of parent I like to be.

I’m really trying to find a way to get him to stay in bed until 7:00, but so far nothing’s working. Next I’m going to try rewards. Maybe like if he stays in bed until 7:00 every day for a week, we can go to the zoo on the weekend. I know I’m not a bad mom. I know we all have our days when we’re counting down the minutes until our kids go to school. It’s just that I want to be as present as possible as much as I can. I owe that to him and to myself.

I also owe myself a big ass nap. But I don’t really see that happeing any time soon. DAMN YOU, 5:45 AM!!!!!!

20 Nov 2010

Flawless Saturday Question

21 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

Thanksgiving is Thursday and I’ve already asked a “Thankful”-type question, so this time I’m going to ask you about… FOOD. The Thanksgiving feast is by far and away my favorite meal of the year. I love everything about it. To me, it’s comfort food times 100, and I wish we could do it more than once a year. Biscuits? Roast turkey? Pumpkin fritters? Cranberry sauce? Sweet potatoes? Mashed potatoes? White Trash Krab Salad? Gravy? AND STUFFING??????  Oh, and pie. And mulled wine. BRING IT.

So my FSQ is this: What is your favorite meal? If you could have anything on a plate, what would it be? Even if it’s a combination of foods you’ve never had before. What do you wish you were eating right now?

Oh my god. Thanksgiving is so close. I can almost taste it.

And now, I’ll take this opportunity to say that I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with great joy, people you love, and unbelievable food. 😉

19 Nov 2010

Uh oh.

4 Comments Toddler

We were just getting off of an elevator, Russ, Garrett and myself. And there stood a girl, about 23 or 24 years old. She had bleached-blond hair in a ponytail, too thin eyebrows, a tiny frame, and fake boobs. She was in that classic “I’m a stripper (or porn star) off-duty look, which consists of a sweatshirt and leggings with tennis shoes or uggs. Three three of us were mid-conversation and, all of a sudden, it stopped. Well, Russ and I were still conversing, but Garrett had dropped out of the conversation.

Russ and I took two or three steps and realized G was still standing there, by the elevator. He was staring at her like she was a unicorn. He literally could not take his eyes off of her. Imagine your husband watching a big play in a game and you ask him a question. Picture him, his mouth slightly open. He can hear you but it’s like you’re far away, in a tunnel somewhere, and he can only hear your echo. And finally a commercial comes and he turns his head. That was Garrett. But it wasn’t a game. It was a girl by an elevator.

When she made her move to the door, he turned to us and acted like that moment never happened. “MOM! Be a styracosaurus!” But Russ and I could not stop laughing. I swear, we were both DYING laughing because we couldn’t believe what we just saw. We’ll have to remember that girl to see if she’s the type G ends up being “into”. It was too much. I know, years from now, when he’s really checking out the girls like that, I’ll long for the days where he snapped out of it and asked me to be a dinosaur.

Frickin’ floozy. Oops sorry! That just slipped out.

18 Nov 2010

38, 39… 40!

11 Comments Personal Crap

My birthday is looming. I’m going to be 39 on Tuesday, November 23rd. It’s my last year before 40. When the fuck did I become an adult? Seriously. I’m not kidding. How did this happen? I have a kid. I’ve been married 10 and a half years. I pay bills and own a house and bag boys call me ma’am.

I remember my dad saying to me many years ago that in his head, he stopped aging at 26. He said he always felt 26 and never thought he was a day older, until he looked in the mirror. I can totally relate to that. And, I don’t know if it’s the power of suggestion, but 26 is the age I feel, too. I’m happier now than I have ever been in my life. I feel secure, proud, self-aware, and fulfilled. But I just don’t understand how I’m almost 39. I know it’s “just a number” and all, but it’s a number that represents the fact that I’m getting old, um… older.

So, this upcoming birthday is making me think of things I miss from my younger days. I really don’t look back that much, because of how good I feel about my life now. But I thought it might be fun to remember things I used to do, that I might do again someday, like when Garrett is in his 20’s.

*In my mid-twenties I was in a morning bowling league with my mom, my best friend (at the time), and her mom. My average was 147, but I often bowled in the 170’s. I enjoyed watching the women bowl, most were in their 50’s or so. And some were drunk by 9:00 AM.

*In my early twenties, I used to wait tables until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, then go out for Grand Slams and coffee and stay up until after 4:00AM and sleep until noon.

*When Russ and I first moved in together, we would walk to Jerry’s Famous Deli for late-night meals a couple times a week. I’d eat a chocolate chip danish from there almost every night. If I did that now, I’d be three sizes bigger.

*Russ and I would spontaneously go to Vegas for a few days at least four times a year. One of us would say, “Hey! You wanna go to Vegas tonight?” And the other would say, “Uh, Yeah. Do we have anything going on in the next few days?” Then we’d realize we didn’t. I’d get on line and look for a deal, we’d nap and at 2:00AM, we’d drive to Vegas. We’d get there around 6:00, have breakfast, get our room , nap and gamble, eat and play for a couple days. Good times.

*I used to watch TV for hours on end. Oh, wait. That was just a few years ago. I remember it fondly.

*I used to go to movies. Russ and I would go to a theater, get popcorn and sodas, and watch a movie. I’ve gone to three in the last two years. Garrett doesn’t like movies in theaters yet. Soon. Very soon.

*I used to go out “drinking”. My friends and I would sit at a bar, order a drink, and wait for guys to buy us more drinks. Then we’d eat and talk and maybe dance. Now I drink much, much less. And mostly at home.

*I would go to the beach and get tan. Really tan. I’d put on a freaking bikini and lay out in the sun for hours, with a boom box, some junk food and SPF 4 or baby oil. Those were the days when we didn’t know how bad that was for you. I kind of wish we’d never found that out.

*Parties! I was always going to, or hosting a party. They were happening all the time! Even weeknights! Booze, chips, dip, loud music, making out… Constantly.

*I was on stage all the time. I was always in a show, especially during the summers. I’d write and perform with a group of friends in a theater we’d rent and almost always sell out. I was so creatively driven back then.

Now that I’ve typed all that, I’m feeling even better about NOW. I like this time of my life a lot better. But I did love the times before. It’s nice to know that, through each phase, I’ve been happy. I’m blessed that way. And I’m sure when G is older, Russ and I will go back to doing some of those late nights and spontaneous Vegas trips. But I am so grateful for what we do and where we are now. And I certainly don’t want to rush to the next phase. Okay, 39. Bring it. I’m ready for a beautiful year.

16 Nov 2010

Marry Me, Or Else! (Part 2)

10 Comments Personal Crap

Our Honeymoon in Hawaii

Before I delve into Part 2, let me correct my Part 1 time line, per my awesome husband. He says (and I like this version better), that I didn’t start to nag until four or five months into us living together. Then it was about three months after that, then two months, etc. But it wasn’t until about a year in that I was really laying it on. He says if I had been crazy enough to start in immediately, he might not have been so amiable about the whole thing. (Translation: He wouldn’t have stuck around.)

So there we were, a year into our relationship, living in sin, and on opposite ends of the issue. I felt like we made a mistake and probably should have lived apart until he gave me a ring. He felt like we made the perfect decision and should probably live together until one of us was making six figures a year or Hell froze over, or both. I wanted a wedding. Not a big, opulent one. Just a wedding with paperwork that said we could only break up after spending a lot of time in court and a lot of money on lawyers. He wanted to live together, happily ever after. He figured we’d get married someday… WAY off in the distance. That was way too long for me.

I suggested we go back to dating and living in separate places. He thought that was ridiculous and would never work. We fought. A lot. I felt terrible for being this person, but I couldn’t stop myself. Every time we agreed to leave the issue alone for a month or two, I only lasted a day or two. Words would just fall out of my mouth no matter how hard I tried to stop them. “I just can’t do this anymore, Russ. I want to get married. I don’t know how this happened or why I’m like this, but I can’t pretend I’m not thinking these things.” The next few months or so were a blur of me trying to keep my mouth shut and having a great time with my man, for the most part. I mean, this was a fun, carefree time for us. Sex, food, friends, parties, sex, food, dates, sex, breakfast, etc. But that stupid voice inside my head kept saying, “He’s never going to marry you, you idiot.”

Now, let’s rewind a couple years to when my awesome grandma Frankie passed away and left me her necklace with the diamond in it that was originally the diamond in the engagement ring my awesome grandpa Murray gave to her. Follow? She left me her engagement diamond. So, when Russ and I first moved in together, I showed him the diamond in the box where I kept it and said, “Please use this diamond in my ring, should you ever choose to ask me to marry you.” Translation: “You are going to save so much money on my engagement ring, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t just ask me now.”

Fast forward to a year or more into us living together. My parents reminded me of the jeweler friend they had who could probably get us a really good deal on a setting for the (free) diamond I already had in my possession. Uh oh. The Parents were passive-aggressively getting involved, like any good Jewish parents do when they see their daughter slightly distressed and wanting to marry the tall, Aryan man she loves so much.

Now all of a sudden, Russ and I found ourselves at this jeweler’s place of business, just to “look” at his selection. Well, we found the perfect setting and it was such a good deal that Russ bought it on the spot. It wasn’t a proposal of marriage, it was just a really good deal. Then Russ and I went out to lunch and had one of the worst fights in the history of our 13-year relationship. There we were, sitting at The Claim Jumper, waiting for our giant orders of comfort food and neither of us were very comfortable. He felt completely confused and bamboozled, wondering how the fuck he just bought a ring when he wasn’t even ready to ask me to marry him. And I felt ashamed and confused by the person I had become, who so desperately needed this man to commit to me that I forced him into a position he was clearly uncomfortable with. I was sobbing. I felt like I had forever ruined one of the most important moments of my life. I had nagged my boyfriend into buying a ring. I felt sick. I wanted to run away. But Russ held me while eating his extremely large corn bread and told me we would get through it.

After that horrible day, we had one more “talk”. Russ asked me to please leave it up to him, now. (I had obviously emasculated him enough.) He made it very clear that from here on in it was going to be his decision: When, where and how. And I was not allowed, under any circumstances, to bring it up. I had to trust him now. And I decided to do just that. I mean, I had already messed it all up so badly, I really didn’t want to do any more damage.

Then one day, without me knowing, he picked up the ring. And I guess it was on the top shelf of our closet for a pretty long time. We had made reservations in Ojai to celebrate our second anniversary and he was planning on asking me there. But the night before, during an (ahem) intimate moment, he asked me. It was so beautiful and perfect, and so… Russ. And it washed away all of the bullshit that had happened before. If nothing else, Russ and I love each other and, at that moment, that was all there was. I cried my eyes out, and called my parents. Then looked him in those beautiful, blue eyes of his and said, “I’d like to pick a date. I don’t want this to be a long engagement.”

You can take the girl out of the proposal, but you can’t take the nagging, desperate-to-get-married-wench out of the girl.

We got married April 30th, 2000. Exactly seven months after he asked me. The wedding was perfect. The honeymoon was even more so. And, after ten years of marriage and one fantastic child, I wouldn’t change anything about it. Except maybe the whole nagging part. I would probably change that.

This is me very, very happy.

15 Nov 2010

Marry Me, Or Else! (Part 1)

7 Comments Personal Crap

I was never the girl who daydreamed about getting married. Never really thought about it at all. It’s odd because my parents had such a beautiful marriage, you’d think I would’ve been chomping at the bit. But maybe it’s the girls with the not-so-good-marriage examples who are constantly hoping for an escape from their lives into the arms of a man who will take care of them.

I’m not saying I didn’t have boyfriends. I always had boyfriends. I’m a serial monogamist. But I never really thought about marriage as a final step to a relationship. I probably thought I wasn’t the marrying type… Until I met and moved in with the man I did marry. It’s a sordid tale. Wanna hear it? Well, I’m telling you anyway.

Russ and I met when I was an actress on Mad TV, and he worked in production. He didn’t have the best impression of me at first, because of a series of situations that made me look like an ass-kissing, alcoholic, party animal, diva. I am, for better or worse, NOT any of those things. I hate to kiss butt, I can barely get through one glass of wine, I’m a home body who hates parties unless I get to wear sweats, and, oh wait, I guess I can be a diva when given the opportunity. But I’m rarely given the chance, and to be fair, I’m more of a mild princess than a diva. So, no. I am none of the above.

Well, when Russ found out I was none of those things, but actually an adorable, sweet, down-to-earth, Jewess with a penchant for ordering take-out and watching TV, he fell in love. And I fell in love with him for being the Oregon-raised, funny, sweet, writer-type Goy guy with a penchant for take-out and watching TV. We couldn’t get enough of each other and moved in together after only 5 months of dating. We had been discussing it for about a month when my mom called one day and said, “Why don’t you two save some money and move in together? Can you believe your Jewish mother is saying this about you and your Catholic boyfriend?”

So, with Mom’s blessing and a desire to never be apart, Russ and I moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the building I was already living in. It felt good, bringing our things together in one place, putting away dishes and putting up the TV we’d be spending all of our non-sex time in front of.  But as I was unpacking the last box I felt a pang of, “Uh Oh. What did I just do?” All of a sudden I realized I had become the milk for free, and I would never be the cow for purchase. And that’s when I became the girl that had to get married as soon as possible. Poor Russ. He never knew what hit him.

I maybe kept it to myself for a week or two, and let myself enjoy the new dynamic. There I was, picking up socks and putting down toilet seats. Making dinner and ordering in. Waiting for the tell-tale key in the door when Russ came home, and excitedly jumping up to greet him. And then the words came tumbling out of my mouth before I had the chance to stop them: “Whendoyouthinkyou’llaskmetomarryyou?” I don’t think he heard because he just stared at me. “When do you think you’ll ask me to marry you?”, I said slower.  “Um, I hadn’t really thought about it”, he said. Oh god. Oh no. It’s over. He doesn’t want to marry me! “Is this something we have to decide now?” “No! No way”, I said. “I don’t even know why I just asked you that. I think it’s the whole, ‘living together’ thing. No biggie. Do you want Chinese or pizza?”

Two weeks later, it was the same thing. Then two weeks after that and one week after that. Russ finally said, “Can we give this a rest and enjoy living together for a minute?” To which I replied, “I don’t think this was the right choice for me. I feel like this was a mistake and now you’re never going to marry me.” WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM? All of a sudden marriage was the only thing I could think of! Russ said he wasn’t “financially” ready and that he was committed to me forever no matter what, so why not wait? I said “finances” had nothing to do with anything and what was the point of waiting anyway? Why not just get it over with so we could move on with our life together?

Clearly, it all ends happily because it’s 12 plus years later and I just picked up our son from school, but there is definitely more to this story which I will tell you tomorrow.

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